Wairarapa Labour Party supporters are shocked the leader of the party David Shearer has stepped down.

Mr Shearer has cited discontent among his caucus and poor party polling results as the reason for him going.

Labour Party hopeful Kieran McAnulty said it was a "selfless act" as the leader was putting the collective needs of the country and the party first.

"It's such a selfless move to put the party before his own ambitions," he said.

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But he is still astonished by the outgoing leader's move.

"I am shocked because things were looking up for the Labour Party with members concerned around issues and confidence to do with the GCSB and lack of job opportunities available in the Wairarapa."

He believes Mr Shearer could have been the next Prime Minister.

"There have been indications a left-wing coalition could have lead. He could have stayed in and been the next Prime Minister but he is in for a change."

Mr Shearer was a traditional politician, Mr McAnulty said.

"He has proved his worth through many years - he was a man of action not a talker."

As for the next leader, this party hopeful will support who ever is appointed to carry the party into a successful win at the next election.

"It comes down to communication and the vision of the party. I will support who ever it is."

Mr McAnulty's mother and organiser of the Wairarapa Labour Party Women's Branch, Marie McAnulty, said she was also dismayed by Mr Shearer's resignation as leader.

She received a call from a friend while at work about the news.

"My first thoughts were 'wow'. From my point of view it was quite a shock."

She has met the outgoing leader and reckons he has done an okay job heading the party.

"He's done a fine job. I'd just like to know why (he has resigned), but, I don't think it will make any difference to the voters ... it is his right," she said.